What To Look For When Choosing A Contract Juice Manufacturer

Synergy Food Group Operations Director, Adrian Hall explains what to look for when choosing a Contract Juice Manufacturer so that you can understand and find the ideal Contract Juice Manufacturing or Private Label Beverage Manufacturing partner for your company. 

What are the questions that you need to be asking them before you decide who you’re going to be working with? 

The first one that’s really important is,  understanding what are the startup costs. 

A lot of companies will actually charge you for the product development. So doing samples, doing trials, working through building recipe sheets, a lot of times this can add up quite quickly, so know what those hidden costs are. 

The costs for transport, are they charging you for samples, the consulting, knowing what all those things are, you can budget for it, saving you problems down the track. 

You also want to be really clear about what ingredients that they’re using to make your products. 

Premium brands require premium ingredients. 

Are they skimping on those things to be able to keep the cost down for themselves and make more money? 

Because if they are the end of the day, you’re going to know, and your customers are going to know. 

Be really clear where they’re buying their ingredients and their packaging and everything from, it’ll alleviate any issues down the track. 

A defective product, whose responsibility is it at different stages of the production. 

If you’ve got product that you’ve sent out to a customer and it’s going off before it’s used by date, who’s responsibility is that? Who’s cost is that? 

Make sure you know before you start working with each other, that you’ve clearly defined the lines of, once I receive this stock, this stock is my responsibility, or while this stock is within a shelf life, it’s your responsibility. 

That’ll just alleviate any big issues down the track. 

Food, safety and traceability, what guarantees do you have? 

If product is going off or it’s, someone’s finding a piece of plastic in their juice or in the fruit salad or whatever you’re making, what guarantees do you have that’ll never happen again? 

See, that they’re going to wear the financial burden of that, because it can be incredibly damaging to your brand if the contract manufacturer doesn’t have clearly defined food safety programs in place. 

It’s important to know what they are, and how are they going to manage the risks, so you can feel confident as a brand owner. 

You also want to be really, really clear on what the lead times are for ordering. 

If you’ve got a seasonal product or if your product is going to sell 10 times more at Christmas time, that may require a bigger lead time heading into the busy season than it would in the off season. 

Have really, really clearly defined rules around how long they need to place that order, (or you need to place that order in) so that you’re never missing out on stock. 

Also what capacity do they have if you grow? 

If suddenly you get some really big customers and big supermarkets buying your product or a huge retailer take you on, can your contract manufacturer turn on a tap and be able to scale your business really quickly? 

If they can’t, what kind of notice do they need to buy new machinery or set up things or change things within their factory, to be able to meet those higher demands? 

Talk to your contract manufacturer about the different stages of growth that you’re planning to go through and make sure that they’re really aligned with that as well. 

Also, don’t be afraid to ask to be involved in the process. 

This product is your baby. You’ve conceptualized it. You’ve made your own samples. You’ve given it to your family and friends. You don’t just want to hand that over to somebody and then be completely vacant from the whole experience. 

Ask if you can be there on a manufacturing day. Ask if you can see how it’s being made and how it’s being stored and how it’s being packaged. 

The more confidence that you have with them, the more you can eventually take your mind off it and focus on just selling the product and growing your brand and getting that exposure, which is what you’re good at. 

It’s important to also know the breakdown of costs. 

You know, what it would cost to make the product yourself. Feel free to ask you a contract manufacturer, the breakdown of their costs and how they’re costing it out for you. 

You don’t want them making a 40% margin when you’re only making a 10% margin. You want to make sure you’ve got some good alignment so that everyone’s winning in that situation. 

That being said, they’re not going to want to hand over their books to you and show you everything. So understand that they have to make money as well, but you want to make sure at the end of the day, that it’s a win-win situation, so that as you grow, everyone’s succeeding. 

Now, although a lot of contract manufacturers, are not necessarily going to want to give up their database of who they’re working with, feel free to ask them if there’s somebody that they would be comfortable with sharing the contact information for so that you can get a testimony to see what it’s like working with them.

They may say no, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding that win, win. 

Communicate with your contract manufacturer, be very, very clear and defined in what you’re looking to achieve. 

This is a company that you’re going to want to work with, while your business is in business. So years and years and years. 

So win win that’s really the best advice that I can give you. 

Feel free to contact us at Synergy Food Group if you want to have a no obligation chat about how we can offer a great win win service or compliment what you’re already doing.

Synergy Food Group contract manufacture for Australia’s leading juice & specialty beverage brands.


We were the first Australian company to innovate fruit and vegetable based Cold Pressed Juice, utilising High Pressure Process (HPP) technology, plus we produce a variety of specialty beverages such as Nut Milks, Protein Waters, Functional Beverages, Superfood Smoothies & Coconut Waters.


Some of our clients also use our juice as a premium ingredient to enhance other products such as Ice Cream, Cider & Beer.


Situated in central Sydney has allowed us to build a strong network of Farmers and Producers to source the freshest ingredients.


Synergy Food Group is licensed to produce both raw unpasteurised juice & juice utilising HPP technology and we are SQF certified, ensuring the highest food safety standards.


Our clients range from large retail chains, to boutique juice & specialty beverage brands who have a passion for providing high quality, innovative products to their loyal, health-conscious customers.


Whether it’s for the markets, cafes, restaurants, retail outlets, supermarkets, or international distribution we’ll tailor a cold pressed juice brand or specialty beverage that you can be proud of.


Contact Synergy Food Group